Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: zerodish on February 28, 2022, 07:36:53 am

 
Title: Free Air
Post by: zerodish on February 28, 2022, 07:36:53 am
Truck stops and Pacific Pride gas stations are a reliable source of free air. I just found a pump at Lowes and I expect they will be going nation wide.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: John Nettles on February 28, 2022, 07:43:38 am
I usually look for car repair places, i.e., small shop mechanics, tire repair places, etc. while riding as they always give free air.  This is why I also always use Schraeder valves.  Rarely, due to insurance, they have to air the tires up so I always tell them the air pressure and that it only takes a one or two seconds to top off.

All QuikTrips have always given free air.
Of course, there are bike shops but then I feel obligated to buy something so if I need just air, I tend to avoid them. 

I guess I could just pump it up myself but I am too lazy  ::)
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on February 28, 2022, 09:19:00 am
Wawa c-stores in PA, NJ, DE, etc., have had free air since forever.  I would bet Sheetz does as well.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: adventurepdx on February 28, 2022, 12:07:10 pm
I haven't used "gas station air" in forever. I'm more of a fan of buying a decent portable bike pump. The "mini-floor" models can get you up to full inflation pretty quickly. Not as quick as a compressor, mind you, but pretty quick. And mine has a gauge on it so I know how much air I need.

If you do use the gas station air and have presta valves, remember to bring an adaptor!
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: staehpj1 on February 28, 2022, 04:47:57 pm
I haven't used "gas station air" in forever. I'm more of a fan of buying a decent portable bike pump. The "mini-floor" models can get you up to full inflation pretty quickly. Not as quick as a compressor, mind you, but pretty quick. And mine has a gauge on it so I know how much air I need.

If you do use the gas station air and have presta valves, remember to bring an adaptor!
Yeah, me too.  If you have higher volume tires a higher pump is in order.  I have found it a little annoying to fully inflate my MTB tires from flat with my mini pump.  I most often have toured on fairly skinny tires though so the smaller pumps are usually fine.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: adventurepdx on February 28, 2022, 05:52:01 pm
Yeah, me too.  If you have higher volume tires a higher pump is in order.  I have found it a little annoying to fully inflate my MTB tires from flat with my mini pump.  I most often have toured on fairly skinny tires though so the smaller pumps are usually fine.

I know that in Ye Olden Days of Touring, bike frame pumps were not that powerful, and the only way to increase the power was to increase the length of the pump. I'll admit there is something aesthetically pleasing about a frame pump tucked under the top tube, and they can come in handy during a dog attack.

But the mini foot pump with hose and pressure gauge is just so much better, and not that expensive--you can get a good one for $40 to $60. I'd rather have a pump that's not a chore to use instead of finding a gas station to keep my tires inflated.

That being said, some of the new mini pumps are actually really good. I have a Leyzene Pocket Drive that I got because I needed a small pump. I had to use it once, and I was amazed at how fast it inflated!
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: John Nettles on February 28, 2022, 06:09:51 pm
I have the same Leyzene pump and carry it at all times.  I get what you all are saying for for me, I prefer air compressors when possible.  For me, they are quicker, less likely to cause a leak at the base of the valve, and easier on the hands.  To each their own.  ;)
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on March 01, 2022, 12:32:23 pm
Anyone ever try helium in their tires to lighten the load?
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: froze on March 01, 2022, 09:57:42 pm
I carry free air with me!  Just in case my pump breaks I carry a Presta to Schrader converter so I can use a gas station pump on my Presta valves.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 02, 2022, 09:29:52 am
This "free air" discussion sounds like a nice hypothetical.  Most of the places I've been lately, if a gas station (or more likely, convenience store) even has a pump, it'll cost 50-75 cents for a spin.

That said, floor pump FTW!
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: HikeBikeCook on March 02, 2022, 12:55:32 pm
Anyone ever try helium in their tires to lighten the load?

I did think about backpacking with some small helium balloons but the trees got in the way and in high winds on the ledges it was a bit scary. :)
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: John Nelson on March 02, 2022, 08:09:08 pm
Does the typical gas station compressor have enough pressure for bike tires? It’s been a while, but the last time I tried, I left the gas station with less air in my tires than when I went in.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: froze on March 02, 2022, 09:07:04 pm
This "free air" discussion sounds like a nice hypothetical.  Most of the places I've been lately, if a gas station (or more likely, convenience store) even has a pump, it'll cost 50-75 cents for a spin.

That said, floor pump FTW!

I would only use gas station air in an emergency, when I start doing some touring, I will be carrying 2 pumps in case one breaks, one will be the main pump, it's a frame pump, and the other will be the backup and it's a mini pump.  Of course, at home I use a floor pump too. 

I forgot to mention that a Presta to Schrader converter can also be used if your pump converts to either that if the rubber grommet in the Presta mode got worn then all you would have to do is switch the pump to Schrader and use the converter.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: John Nettles on March 02, 2022, 09:16:44 pm
Does the typical gas station compressor have enough pressure for bike tires? It’s been a while, but the last time I tried, I left the gas station with less air in my tires than when I went in.
A lot of CS pumps (the ones you pay for) typically do not get that high.  That is why I use a small mechanic's shop (almost always free) as their pumps always have enough pressure.  As mentioned earlier, I use Schraeder valves not only because I can use a much wider variety of pumps without the adapter which I typically lose, but in an emergency, I could use a Presta tube.  Of course, the reverse is not possible unless you drill for a Schraeder to begin with.   
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: staehpj1 on March 03, 2022, 07:27:44 am
I would only use gas station air in an emergency, when I start doing some touring, I will be carrying 2 pumps in case one breaks, one will be the main pump, it's a frame pump, and the other will be the backup and it's a mini pump.  Of course, at home I use a floor pump too. 

I forgot to mention that a Presta to Schrader converter can also be used if your pump converts to either that if the rubber grommet in the Presta mode got worn then all you would have to do is switch the pump to Schrader and use the converter.
FWIW I tend to carry one pump that I trust.  I have never had one fail catastrophically in ~60 years of pumping up bike tires (or at all when on tour).  I have had the rubber grommets wear and get iffy, but that resulted in a slow fail with lots of warning.  Pumps with piston or leather washer failures similarly either failed slowly or just needed a little attention so one pump does it for me.  Most farms or workshops of any sort would have some means of pumping a tire so help is liely available somewhere.  Worst case I'd hitch a ride, but have never resorted to either for a pump failure.

At home I have started using my shop's compressor in recent years.  I find it much more convenient than a floor pump.  Just pull the trigger to go just past the desired pressure and press the bleed button until you get down to the exact pressure you want.  The little screw on chuck puts no stress on the valve stem and I have two inflators one fo presta and one for schrader.  The schrader inflator is almost exclusively used for the cars unless I am working on someone else's bike.

I do carry a Presta to Schrader converter on tour just in case.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: johnsondasw on March 03, 2022, 08:53:09 pm
I always carry a mini-pump.  One advantage is that you get a great upper body workout using them, which helps to balance out all the legwork of cycling.  JK. I bring them but hate using them because I'm at the age (73) where I don't really want that extra workout in a crunched over position. Instant backache!
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: canalligators on March 03, 2022, 09:56:32 pm
A good quality pump like the Lezyne, or even the venerable Road Morph, is reliable and easy to use.  Probability of failure is pretty close to zero.  I’d take one pricey high quality pump rather than two lesser pumps.  I’d only take a backup if I was away from civilization and traveling alone.  Nix that, not even then.

I did want to rebuild my 20 year old Road Morph G, but the rebuild kits are out of stock everywhere.  I did find the right O-ring for the piston at a home store and replaced that.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: staehpj1 on March 04, 2022, 07:30:23 am
I always carry a mini-pump.  One advantage is that you get a great upper body workout using them, which helps to balance out all the legwork of cycling.  JK. I bring them but hate using them because I'm at the age (73) where I don't really want that extra workout in a crunched over position. Instant backache!
At 70 I am finding this more true than in the past.  I still tolerate the mini pump though.  For topping off it isn't that bad.  For filling from all the way flat it is a bigger deal, but I have been mostly touring on skinny tires.  For fatter tires I might start carrying a bigger pump again if I were to tour in goat head country with tires with tubes.  My tubeless setup has been flat free enough with fat tires that I might still tolerate the mini pump even with them.  I say that, but after a while on the road I may get sick of even topping off fat tires with with the mini pump.  I am kind of spoiled after using the compressor at home these days and haven't been on tour during the pandemic, so I may be kidding myself about what I will tolerate.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: froze on March 04, 2022, 07:24:57 pm
I always carry a mini-pump.  One advantage is that you get a great upper body workout using them, which helps to balance out all the legwork of cycling.  JK. I bring them but hate using them because I'm at the age (73) where I don't really want that extra workout in a crunched over position. Instant backache!

A great workout? Do you get a flat every day?  That's the only way it would be a "good" workout.  I average one flat every 6 months, so not much of a workout there going on.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: froze on March 04, 2022, 07:31:06 pm
A good quality pump like the Lezyne, or even the venerable Road Morph, is reliable and easy to use.  Probability of failure is pretty close to zero.  I’d take one pricey high quality pump rather than two lesser pumps.  I’d only take a backup if I was away from civilization and traveling alone.  Nix that, not even then.

I did want to rebuild my 20 year old Road Morph G, but the rebuild kits are out of stock everywhere.  I did find the right O-ring for the piston at a home store and replaced that.

I have a couple of Lezyne's and a couple of Topeak's, and those two are the best over all the rest that's for sure, but I give the very best edge to Lezyne over Topeak, while durability is about the same, the Lezyne is a tad easier to stroke as well as less strokes to use vs the Topeak.  I could also give the nod to Lezyne for looks, but I don't care about looks as much as I do about how well it works.  My oldest Lezyne is about 19 years old, and the oldest Topeak is 16, after using both my next main pump was another Lezyne, but then I wanted are real small pump and the Topeak had that over the Lezyne.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: froze on March 04, 2022, 07:40:48 pm
I would only use gas station air in an emergency, when I start doing some touring, I will be carrying 2 pumps in case one breaks, one will be the main pump, it's a frame pump, and the other will be the backup and it's a mini pump.  Of course, at home I use a floor pump too. 

I forgot to mention that a Presta to Schrader converter can also be used if your pump converts to either that if the rubber grommet in the Presta mode got worn then all you would have to do is switch the pump to Schrader and use the converter.
FWIW I tend to carry one pump that I trust.  I have never had one fail catastrophically in ~60 years of pumping up bike tires (or at all when on tour).  I have had the rubber grommets wear and get iffy, but that resulted in a slow fail with lots of warning.  Pumps with piston or leather washer failures similarly either failed slowly or just needed a little attention so one pump does it for me.  Most farms or workshops of any sort would have some means of pumping a tire so help is liely available somewhere.  Worst case I'd hitch a ride, but have never resorted to either for a pump failure.

At home I have started using my shop's compressor in recent years.  I find it much more convenient than a floor pump.  Just pull the trigger to go just past the desired pressure and press the bleed button until you get down to the exact pressure you want.  The little screw on chuck puts no stress on the valve stem and I have two inflators one fo presta and one for schrader.  The schrader inflator is almost exclusively used for the cars unless I am working on someone else's bike.

I do carry a Presta to Schrader converter on tour just in case.

Weird, I left a message about this a couple of days ago but it disappeared?

Anyway, I'm on a limb about carrying 2 pumps, so I hear you, but most long distance touring, especially off-road touring people I spoke to said they carry two pumps, most either had a frame pump, a few had mini pumps, but most carried a second smaller pump for backup.   So I have a Zefal HPX4 as my main pump, but then I carry a Topeak Micro Rocket AL which is attached to the side of a water bottle cage.  It hardly weighs anything, at around 65 grams, and since it sets on the side of a cage it isn't taking up any bag space somewhere.

All I know is that I would hate to be without air out in the middle of nowhere.  And the frame pump doubles as a dog thunker, so if I break it doing that, I need a backup till I can buy another frame pump.  Although, I did hit a dog once with that Zefal and it didn't do any damage to the pump, the dog got a bloody nose.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on March 07, 2022, 09:23:58 am
A good quality pump like the Lezyne, or even the venerable Road Morph, is reliable and easy to use.  Probability of failure is pretty close to zero.  I’d take one pricey high quality pump rather than two lesser pumps.  I’d only take a backup if I was away from civilization and traveling alone.  Nix that, not even then.
+1.  I didn't know what a Road Morph G was until my '99 X-country group tour.  Two people had them.  The other 10 of us borrowed them fairly frequently without any problems. Picked up one for myself before my long tour starting in the winter of the following year.  I have been using one ever since.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: Pat Lamb on March 07, 2022, 12:13:13 pm
A good quality pump like the Lezyne, or even the venerable Road Morph, is reliable and easy to use.  Probability of failure is pretty close to zero.

Close, but not quite zero.  Another rider tried to use my Road Morph one chilly day, and the check valve had frozen.  Of course, he asked because his Lezyne check valve was also frozen.  We stood on the side of the road for 5 minutes or so with our pumps under our respective arms to thaw them out -- they both thawed about the same time.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: John Nettles on March 07, 2022, 12:16:36 pm
....Another rider tried to use my Road Morph one chilly day, and the check valve had frozen.  Of course, he asked because his Lezyne check valve was also frozen.  We stood on the side of the road for 5 minutes or so with our pumps under our respective arms to thaw them out -- they both thawed about the same time.
The obvious solution would be not to ride in such cold weather  ;) !
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: staehpj1 on March 07, 2022, 12:23:19 pm
A good quality pump like the Lezyne, or even the venerable Road Morph, is reliable and easy to use.  Probability of failure is pretty close to zero.

Close, but not quite zero.  Another rider tried to use my Road Morph one chilly day, and the check valve had frozen.  Of course, he asked because his Lezyne check valve was also frozen.  We stood on the side of the road for 5 minutes or so with our pumps under our respective arms to thaw them out -- they both thawed about the same time.
I would still say zero if that was the only "failure" since it really isn't a failure.  Of course nothing is absolutely 100% reliable but these things are pretty reliable.  If you carry the rebuild parts even more so, but I wouldn't bother.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: froze on March 07, 2022, 09:19:40 pm
I have a Road Morph G, but I don't like it!  First problem with the darn thing is that the Velcro straps do not secure it adequately to the frame and the darn pump keeps moving as I rode.  I also don't like the ungainly look of the pump on the bike.  While it works ok, but I found the Zefal HPX-4 pump works even better, which I thought was strange considering that the Road Morph has a foot peg and a L hand grip to pump with, but the Zefal takes less strokes to get to the same PSI and those strokes are easier.

Probably the Silca Impero Ultimate is the best frame pump on the market, but it's also expensive at around $165, but it may be the best one, but compared to the Zefal at only $40 price wise it's no contest.  The Zefal only takes 113 strokes to get to 100 psi whereas the Silca takes 84, however, the Road Morph takes 160 strokes and costs $16 more than the Zefal.  Of course neither the Silca nor the Zefal come with a pressure gauge, but the Road Morph G gauge is not accurate at all so it's useless.

Anyway just food for thought.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: BikeliciousBabe on March 08, 2022, 08:58:54 am
My RMG goes in my left front panier, so no worries about it moving or how it looks.

And since I rarely flat I am not going to sweat strokes.  Three flats during my first tour, which was about 6,000 miles BITD.  IIRC, my last flat on tour was in 2014.  Picked up a tiny wire, probably from a tire, near the end of a wet day.  The hole was so small I didn't know I had a flat until the next morning.  Had to run the tube through a handy puddle leftover from the previous days' heavy rain in order to find the hole.  Ironic since I have been incorporating more and more "gravel" into my trips and have never flatted on an unpaved surface.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: Ty0604 on March 09, 2022, 08:47:37 pm
I would only use gas station air in an emergency, when I start doing some touring, I will be carrying 2 pumps in case one breaks, one will be the main pump, it's a frame pump, and the other will be the backup and it's a mini pump.

I wouldn’t worry about a pump failing. I’ve had the same one since I started touring and it’s been great. It’s a Topeak Mini Morph with a little foot step.

Flats are interesting…. On my first cross country tour, covering 5,200 miles, I had exactly 0 flats. On my second cross country tour, covering 2,300 miles, I had 8.

The first, and only time, I ever used gas station air I blew my tire all to shreds  :'( Oops
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: John Nettles on March 10, 2022, 12:32:36 am
The first, and only time, I ever used gas station air I blew my tire all to shreds  :'( Oops
Wow, I don't know how you did it if you were paying attention unless there was an existing issue with the tube you did not know about.  Not trying to sound rude (seriously, I am not) but I have used a mechanic, muffler, tire, etc. shop's air compressor for 45 years of touring and typically do not use a gauge and have never had an issue.  In fact, about 20 years ago, I intentionally pumped a 26" tire to the point of blowing and it was at around 115-120 psi when it blew.  Yep, it did fatally rip the sidewalls of the old worn out tire but I was 50% over stated recommended pressure. 

When I add air, I add it in 1 second or less increments and use the old thumb test unless I am wanting a specific PSI for gravel or something and again, have never had an issue.  Of course, I probably just seriously jinxed myself  ::) .
Anyway, your tires, your choice.  Happy Trails, John
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: staehpj1 on March 10, 2022, 08:12:00 am
The first, and only time, I ever used gas station air I blew my tire all to shreds  :'( Oops
Wow, I don't know how you did it if you were paying attention unless there was an existing issue with the tube you did not know about.  Not trying to sound rude (seriously, I am not) but I have used a mechanic, muffler, tire, etc. shop's air compressor for 45 years of touring and typically do not use a gauge and have never had an issue.  In fact, about 20 years ago, I intentionally pumped a 26" tire to the point of blowing and it was at around 115-120 psi when it blew.  Yep, it did fatally rip the sidewalls of the old worn out tire but I was 50% over stated recommended pressure. 

When I add air, I add it in 1 second or less increments and use the old thumb test unless I am wanting a specific PSI for gravel or something and again, have never had an issue.  Of course, I probably just seriously jinxed myself  ::) .
Anyway, your tires, your choice.  Happy Trails, John
I remember way back in the day when "ten speeds" were first popular in the US, my brother ruined a tire that way.  I don't recall the exact failure mode.  I do recall that we used to avoid the gas station pump like the plague (the most local one had very high pressure).  I think the rationale was that with the low volume of the tire the sudden surge was just too quick.  I don't know that our worry was rational or not, but it seemed to be conventional wisdom.  I may be wrong, but I think it may have even been spread in print by the likes of Sheldon Brown (if not some other luminary).  If so we would have treated it as if Moses had brought it down from the mountain on stone tablets.

Maybe our conventional wisdom of that time was BS, I wouldn't be too surprised and brother's tire failure was probably over 50 years ago so details are lost in the fog of time.  Maybe he just blew it off the rim.  That isn't how the story survived though. 
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: Ty0604 on March 10, 2022, 12:34:19 pm
The first, and only time, I ever used gas station air I blew my tire all to shreds  :'( Oops
Wow, I don't know how you did it if you were paying attention unless there was an existing issue with the tube you did not know about.  Not trying to sound rude (seriously, I am not) but I have used a mechanic, muffler, tire, etc. shop's air compressor for 45 years of touring and typically do not use a gauge and have never had an issue.  In fact, about 20 years ago, I intentionally pumped a 26" tire to the point of blowing and it was at around 115-120 psi when it blew.  Yep, it did fatally rip the sidewalls of the old worn out tire but I was 50% over stated recommended pressure. 

When I add air, I add it in 1 second or less increments and use the old thumb test unless I am wanting a specific PSI for gravel or something and again, have never had an issue.  Of course, I probably just seriously jinxed myself  ::) .
Anyway, your tires, your choice.  Happy Trails, John

I was 16 and had just bought my first bike, a Trek I spent $300 on, which I thought was a lot for a bike! Really had no idea what I was doing I guess. I was so use to airing up the tractor tires on the farm I plugged the pump into the bike tire and watched as it exploded. Scared the crap outta me. Lesson learned!

Either way both my bikes now have presta valves. I do carry an adapter but with my pump I’ve never needed to use it. I’m happy to stop into an LBS and buy some Nuun tablets or something that I need in exchange for them topping off my tires.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: froze on March 10, 2022, 10:09:48 pm
The first, and only time, I ever used gas station air I blew my tire all to shreds  :'( Oops
Wow, I don't know how you did it if you were paying attention unless there was an existing issue with the tube you did not know about.  Not trying to sound rude (seriously, I am not) but I have used a mechanic, muffler, tire, etc. shop's air compressor for 45 years of touring and typically do not use a gauge and have never had an issue.  In fact, about 20 years ago, I intentionally pumped a 26" tire to the point of blowing and it was at around 115-120 psi when it blew.  Yep, it did fatally rip the sidewalls of the old worn out tire but I was 50% over stated recommended pressure. 

When I add air, I add it in 1 second or less increments and use the old thumb test unless I am wanting a specific PSI for gravel or something and again, have never had an issue.  Of course, I probably just seriously jinxed myself  ::) .
Anyway, your tires, your choice.  Happy Trails, John

I once put in 200 psi into a road tire to test a glueless patch, left that pressure in that tube for a week, nothing happened.  As a safety precaution I did put the wheel into a trash can before blowing that much psi into it, I was worried about the rim exploding, but the rim, tube, and tire survived unscathed.
Title: Re: Free Air
Post by: johnsondasw on March 22, 2022, 01:56:32 am
I always carry a mini-pump.  One advantage is that you get a great upper body workout using them, which helps to balance out all the legwork of cycling.  JK. I bring them but hate using them because I'm at the age (73) where I don't really want that extra workout in a crunched over position. Instant backache!

A great workout? Do you get a flat every day?  That's the only way it would be a "good" workout.  I average one flat every 6 months, so not much of a workout there going on.

Did you not see th JK part?  I get flats several times a year.  I don't seem to get them on days I don't ride, and there are months where I live when you can't ride due to snow and ice.  Then I hike, snowshoe, ski, etc.  I don't get flats on any of those, so I don't carry a pump and have to lift weights or go to a bouldering ym for the upper body workout